The convenient 7-inch Echo Show screen makes it stand out from other Amazon Echo products. While Alexa was designed to do things without any touch input, sometimes it’s convenient to just tap the screen rather than listen to a long, drawn-out verbal prompt. The show gives you a touch screen when you need it and also allows you to play videos in the background. Here are the biggest differences between the Echo Show and other Echo products.
Watch YouTube and Amazon videos, news snippets and movie trailers
The Echo Show screen allows you to output a bunch of videos with a simple voice command. Alexa supports the following video content out of the box:
«Alexa, play the trailer for Thor: Ragnarok»: Ask Alexa for a trailer for any movie and she’ll play it on screen.
«Alexa, search YouTube for Markiplier»: Alexa can search YouTube for the video you are looking for. Each search result will have a number next to it. Do a dictionary search for «Alexa play number two» and the Echo Show will play that video. You can also scroll through the search results and click on the one you want if you like.
«Alexa, play The Grand Tour»: if you have an Amazon Prime account, you can watch any Amazon streaming video library on your echo show. If you want to play a specific episode, you can say «Alexa, play The Grand Tour, season one, episode four», for example. Unfortunately, Alexa seems to get confused if you miss a season number, even though there’s only one season of the show, so be specific.
While that should be enough to keep you entertained while you’re cooking or getting ready for work, there are some big gaps in the Echo Show’s video library. You can’t watch videos from Netflix, Hulu, Sling, or other big video services, though Amazon says there’s no reason for those companies to build the skills to support it.
Watch video from your security camera
Echo Show can display live feed from any supported video camera that you connect to Alexa. Companies such as Nest, August, Arlo and Ring have already added support for their video cameras. Ask «Alexa, show me the front door camera» to see the instant video signal of your front door. This is handy if someone rings your doorbell and you want to know who it is before you answer. You can also check your indoor or outdoor security cameras if you want to check on your child or see who is spying outside.
See how much time is left on your timers
Echo is very useful in the kitchen for setting timers, but regular voice-only models don’t provide much feedback until your timer is turned on. Echo Show, on the other hand, will show your timer on the screen after you set it. When the Echo Show returns to the main screen, your timer will be included in the rotating carousel of cards you will see. If you want to see your timers again, you can say «Alexa, show me my timers» to display each timer at once.
You can also set multiple timers and see each one at the same time. This way, if you boil your eggs hard while baking your turkey, you can set separate timers for each and see how much time you have left for each one, instead of asking Alexa about each timer one by one. If you want to cancel the timer, you can swipe it on the left side of the screen to delete it while you are on the timer screen.
Scroll through your entire calendar
When you ask the regular voice echo what events you have on your calendar, Alexa will read the next four events on your agenda. On the echo show, say «Alexa, show me my calendar» and you’ll see a list of all the events on your agenda. Scroll down the list to see all your events. Click on any event and you can see more details about that event.
Sing along to your songs with live lyrics
Whenever you play music during the Echo Show, you are having an impromptu karaoke session. If Amazon can find the lyrics to the song you’re listening to, it will display the lyrics on the screen. The text will automatically scroll in time along with the music. Tap the screen and you’ll also get touch controls for your music. You can pause, play, skip tracks, turn on shuffle or repeat, and even turn off the lyrics if you don’t want to see them.
Make video calls to anyone with an echo show or through the Alexa app
Echo Show adds video calling to Alexa’s growing list of messaging features. If your friends or family also have an Alexa echo show or app, you can start a video call by saying «Alexa, call your mom.» If you call someone with a voice-only echo, the show will start a voice call instead. , You can also send messages to anyone using the Alexa app or any Echo model.
Amazon also has a new add-on feature called Drop In. Drop In turns your echo into a sort of intercom. You can immediately open a voice chat with another echo in your home. Unlike voice calls, no one has to answer the call, it is automatically connected when you say «Alexa, come into the living room», for example. You can also add contacts who can log on to you. So, if you want to be able to check on your grandma or let mom check on the kids, add them as a contact from Settings in the Alexa app. You can then say «Alexa, check on Mom» to immediately connect via voice or video chat (depending on what’s available) to their house.
RELATED:How to Ensure Your Amazon Echo’s «Drop In» Feature is Completely Disabled
Using Drop In between Echo Shows will start a video call that has ten seconds to reject. Otherwise, whoever decides to enter will be able to see through your camera. All Drop In calls also trigger an audible alert, so anyone in the room should know a call is in progress, but it could still be a privacy issue. Especially when you add people outside of your house (or in some cases, inside your house). Think carefully about who you want to give voice and video unhindered access to before enabling this feature. Here’s how to make sure it’s completely disabled.
In addition to all these new features, Amazon has opened up the Echo Show screen to third-party developers, which means there will be even more video skills to come in the coming months. If you haven’t visited the Alexa Skills Store recently, check back from time to time to see what else you can do with your new Echo Show.